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10 Jun 2011

'Sotto quale cielo?' at Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia

Hans Schabus, Lungomare, 45x136x394,5 cm, 2010.
Production Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia.

'Sotto quale cielo?'
Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia


Admission and ticketing: full 6 euro, reduced 3 euro, 1 euro for residents of Palermo and the Province Opening: 10 June 2011 at 18.30 Duration: 11 June–30 October 2011 Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10–20, Thursdays and Fridays 10–22

Rosaria Raffaele Addamo
+39 091 320532

Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia
corso Vittorio Emanuele, 365
90134, Palermo

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'Sotto quale cielo?'
Massimo Bartolini Flavio Favelli Hans Schabus Marinella Senatore Zafos Xagoraris

Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia
11 June–30 October 2011

'Sotto quale cielo?'—a far-reaching exhibition devoted to five internationally renowned artists, Massimo Bartolini, Flavio Favelli, Hans Schabus, Marinella Senatore, and Zafos Xagoraris—opens to the public on 11 June at Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia in Palermo. The exhibition is the last phase of an extensive project curated by Daniela Bigi for the museum in two phases, the first of which began in July 2010 in various Sicilian cities through 'ETICO_F Cinque movimenti sul paesaggio,' the artist-in-residence program of which the artists were protagonists.

At a distance of almost one year, the exhibition at Palazzo Riso brings together, in one venue, through 30 October, the works the artists produced last summer in Sicilian sites and centers whose history, current affairs, and future perspectives are all quite different, with others made expressly for this occasion (and dedicated to the real, reproduced, and artificial Sicilian landscape) and some of the artists' important earlier works.

Both the exhibition and the artist-in-residence program are the visible expression of Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia's cultural project, conceived and curated from the very start by Renato Quaglia. Riso's regional mission is that of a 'diffused museum,' active throughout the Sicilian region, far beyond the walls of the building in Palermo in which it is based, to support, promote, and produce contemporary art and cultural projects and initiatives.
The artist-in-residence program out of which 'Sotto quale cielo?' has grown took place in the municipalities of Enna, Termini Imerese, Capo d'Orlando, and Ficarra. The acronym 'ETICO_F' is composed of these cities' initials. It emphasizes the important role the cities played in the works of the artists—Massimo Bartolini, Flavio Favelli, Hans Schabus, Marinella Senatore, Zafos Xagoraris—who were invited to build a relationship with them, to listen to them, to study them, and to interpret their landscape through a direct day in day out relationship with their host community.

The more than twenty works now on display in the galleries of the two floors of the Palermo museum are highly impressive from a poetic point of view and, in some cases, from that of their size, as in Massimo Bartolini's new installation composed of a heap of lights, or Flavio Favelli's new sculpture of more than fifteen quintals of discarded shutters and windows, or Marinella Senatore's more than thirteen-meters-long traversable installation.
'Under the sky, there's the landscape. In the landscape, there's also the sky,' states Daniela Bigi. 'The exhibition was born under the sky of Sicily, but it reflects that fact that everything is landscape and refers ideally to all the skies under which we are trying to respond to the present. Every single day we make choices that—in the short, mid-, or long range—directly or indirectly influence not only the landscape around us but also the landscape quite far from us. If we want to see it as a project on the indissoluble intertwining between the history of humankind and the history of nature relentlessly produced by time, we can say that the landscape is the fruit of our daily micro- and macro- choices.'

Massimo Bartolini was a guest, during 'ETICO_F,' of the Museo Piccolo in Ficarra, and his work was based around the figure of Lucio Piccolo, a poet and complicated intellectual who lived in the area between Ficarra and Capo d'Orlando. Last July at Fortezza Carceraria in Ficarra, the artist put on a performance that was closely tied to the fascinating story of twentieth-century Sicilian literary circles. On display at Palazzo Riso, instead, is a new video, shot inside the dog cemetery Lucio Piccolo had had made in the garden of his home at Villa Piccolo di Calanovella, as well as a series of drawings. Bartolini has also mounted, expressly for Riso, La strada di sotto, a large installation made out of the lights generally used to decorate city streets during patronal festivals, other lights, and video projections.
Flavio Favelli spent his residence in Termini Imerese, inevitably confronting the current, disparate reality of the former FIAT workers and a landscape marred by industrial establishments that are now testimony a failed dream and social project. Originally mounted on the facade of Termini's city hall, the large Alfasud neon—red letters that reproduce the logo of the car that (even if it was actually produced in Pomigliano d'Arco) seemed to embody Italy's great industrial dream of relaunching the south—and 1x2, the old insignia that identified places for Totocalcio, have now been remounted at Palazzo Riso. 'I have never seen so many places to gamble as in Termini,' says Flavio Favelli, who, through these two old logos, depicts a chilling portrait of the current situation of the city, which is both victim of and witness to an era's end. Two other works by Favelli are also on display: the installation of pallets he painted black and decorated for the church of Maria Santissima della Misericordia in Termini Imerese, and a work currently in the making.
Zafos Xagoraris also worked in Termini Imerese, on a project that was closely bound to the Santa Chiara cloister, which, among other uses, such as the monastery and the library, has housed a nationally renowned gym for wrestling since the 1950s. As an artist explicitly committed to political and social issues, Zafos Xagoraris also took on the unavoidable FIAT question from a deferential point of view, building a cart with speakers that reproduced the sound of the wrestlers training and shooting a silent, black-and-white video in which images of the training sessions in the gym alternate with those of the empty industrial plants and their neighboring landscape. The exhibition at Palazzo Riso also displays two large watercolor drawings and one of the Athenian artist's most famous works, Enclosed Bell, in which the placement of bell inside brick structure defines a sound space that evokes issues pertinent to both identity and perception.
Marinella Senatore worked with the sulfur miners of Enna, focusing, on the one hand, on their social issues and union battles and, on the other, on their profound relationship with the land. She made the video Noi Simu together with these elderly workers. Their stories, which speak of their exertion in the mine, the humiliation they suffered, and their love for those underground depths, gave birth to a very intense choral work, every phase of which—from the script to the casting—was made together them. In the video, the actual casting intertwines with the fictional scenes that resurface from memory. Typical of the artist's practice, the work was shot with non-professional actors and most of the people collaborating on the production were also non-professional, including a group of students from the Fine Arts Academy in Catania with whom the artist was doing a workshop. In addition to the video at Palazzo Riso, there is also a large installation in wood entitled 16°. It is a work from 2007 composed of a more than thirteen-meter-long bridge, immersed in fog, with just a few lights in the horizon, over which the public is invited walk in an atmosphere that merges the experience of a movie set with reality.
Hans Schabus doesn't like to explain his work, but the signs he uses are explicit. During his residence at Capo d'Orlando he chose to visit the warehouses in which the city stores discarded equipment and furniture or, rather, the places in which a community abandons and forgets—willingly or unconsciously—parts of its memories. Among the works from his residence on display in the exhibition are: Monumento ai disoccupati, made up of iron and glass display cases no longer in use; the sculpture Lungomare, a street lamp with its two arms and two white globes positioned on the floor as if it had been directly wrecked on the road surface, and Guardia, two brooms that sustain two lemons in precarious balance. Also reproposed here, in its close connection with the spirit of the exhibition, is Echo, a video from 2009 set on the bank of a pond, in which the artist attempts to follow a tricky path through the wilds of nature, evoking strong metaphorical implications.

As Daniela Bigi underscores: 'Commitment, memory, personal conditions, and collective conditions—traced through the visibility and invisibility of the landscape—represent the circuit of meaning of this experience in Sicily, because, in the end, we are the landscape. It might seem like a slogan from the 1970s or a citation from an artist dear to many of us or even the title of a 1990s song. In reality, outside of any rhetorical intent, it is a dimension with which we never cease to confront ourselves.'

'Sotto quale cielo?' is accompanied by a catalogue, published by Electa, including color photographs and critical and bibliographical apparatuses. Educational activities, including guided tours for the public and children's workshops, will be held over the course of the exhibition.

Technical data
Exhibition title: 'Sotto quale cielo?'
Curated by: Daniela Bigi
Venue: Palazzo Riso, corso Vittorio Emanuele, 365 Palermo
Opening: 10 June 2011 at 18.30
Duration: 11 June–30 October 2011
Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10–20, Thursdays and Fridays 10–22
Admission and ticketing: full 6 euro, reduced 3 euro, 1 euro for residents of Palermo and the Province
How to reach the museum: bus 104 / 225
Catalogue: Edizioni Electa
Information: Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia, tel. +39 091 320532
Riso Press Office:

'Sotto quale cielo?' Press Office
Ilaria Gianoli, mob. +39 333 63 17 344,
Marta Colombo, mob. +39 340 3442805,